A new feature has been added to AIBTM’s America Meetings Week next June in Baltimore, the Irish rock band U2.

More than 1,000 free U2 tickets will be available to exhibitors and hosted buyers who register for AIBTM: The Americas Meetings and Events Exhibition, which debuts June 21–23, 2011, at the Baltimore Convention Center. U2 will be performing at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore June 22 on their 360° Tour. The U2 tickets will be allocated “through a range of exciting promotions between now and the show,” said Lillian Lazarevski, spokeswoman for Reed Travel Exhibitions, which runs AIBTM. More details will be announced soon, she said.

“It was a great stroke of luck that U2 was scheduled to play in Baltimore over the same dates,” said Sara Hisamoto, CTA, director of public relations at Visit Baltimore. “We worked with our partners at the stadium to secure tickets for the hosted buyers and exhibitors,” she added.

“We believe this exciting announcement is a first for the meetings industry. It takes our networking events to a new level, and, of course, it also gives our stakeholders a chance to see an extraordinary live concert at the stadium in downtown Baltimore,” said AIBTM Project Manager Steve Knight in a press release. “This concert really will give all those involved in staging live events a first-hand experience of a lifetime.”

AIBTM is the centerpiece of what organizers are calling America Meetings Week. Also taking place that week in Baltimore are the Professional Convention Management Association’s Education Conference, June 20–23, and the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders gala on June 21. Registration opens in January for AIBTM, which is expected to draw 2,000 hosted buyers.

The U2 announcement was made by Tom Noonan, chief executive officer at Visit Baltimore, and Craig Moyes, group exhibition director for Reed Travel Exhibitions Meetings and Events Portfolio, at EIBTM: The Global Meetings and Events Exhibition, which was held November 30 to December 2 in Barcelona, Spain. EIBTM attracted 4,000 hosted buyers and 3,100 exhibitors from 90 countries. Meetings industry professionals are expected to attend a total of 57,300 pre-scheduled appointments over the three days of EIBTM—a 6 percent increase over 2009. There were 59 educational sessions—a record.